What is privacy and why is it important?

In our modern day society privacy issue arise daily, especially with the younger generation. These include using Facebook, online banking, shopping online using your credit card or simply using your mobile phone.

It is important to ensure you protect your own personal privacy at the same time making sure you do not intrude on other people’s privacy.  Every State in Australia has a number of laws to help you protect your privacy and make sure everyone is kept safe.

With the growth of the use of Technology in our daily lives privacy issues have become frequent. Even sharing your most basic information online, for example your name and date of birth, can put your privacy at risk. Also distributing illicit photograph of others even as a joke, can be now be a serious crime.

 

What to do is someone has taken a photograph/video of your doing something Private?

In Victoria it is against the law to publish or send to another person intimate images of a person who is under the age of 18 without their consent. This includes posting or sharing on social media sites, test messaging or emailing intimate images or videos whether the person be naked or performing a sexual act among friend. Also in Victoria it is against the law to invite someone or create child pornography. Child pornography is and image or video showing someone under the age of 18 year of age posing in an indecent sexual manner or involved in a sexual activity.

 

It is a crime to use the internet to record or share images and videos of that person without their permission if the material shared would be classed as offensive and it carries a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison.

It is important to note that the law does not distinguish between people in relationships and if you are dating someone whom is considered a child and have images or videos it is still considered a crime

Other Offenses

Identity Theft

 

If someone has access to only the most basic information about you this is still enough to assist them in stealing your identity. This person can use your information to steal money, buy items, misuse social media accounts, hack emails and obtain data and or device such as mobile phones and computers or the intention of using another person information their own. This is illegal in Australia and this law is in place to help protect your information and stop it from being used by others.

 

Unauthorised recording using surveillance device

 

In Victoria it is illegal to use a devise to record, monitor or listen to:

 

  • A private conversations of others without their consent if you are not a part of that conversation.
  • To film or observe a private activity without consent if you are not a part of the activity

 

However, it is not illegal to film or record another person without their consent if you are part of the conversation or activity. However you must not publish or send the recording without the consent of all parties involved.

Stalking

In Victoria it is against the law to stalk another person meaning taking photo, following them, contacting them, watch then, making threats, be abusive towards them with the  intention or causing fear or physical or mental harm. A person found guilty of stalking may be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Companies using your private information and data

Organisations such as Government agencies, health service providers, and large Business and credit agencies have specific obligations when dealing with your personal information. Protected information includes your name, signature, contact numbers, address and date of birth, bank account details and medical records.

Before such businesses can collect and record your personal information they must have a clear privacy policy as well as offer for you not to identify yourself. If this is an option they may only collect the information that is necessary for them to provide their service of directly relating to one of their services. Sensitive Information can only be collected with your consent. This includes information about your race, political opinion or membership, religious beliefs, criminal record or sexual orientation.

They also need to provide you with how the information will be used, what purpose they need this information and to whom they may disclose it to. Businesses are generally not permitted to use your personal information other than for the purpose they have collected it for. As well as making sure that the information they have about you is correct and securely held and you should be given access to this information is you ask for it.

If you think your personal information is being misused by a business or organisation you can make a complaint to the Office of Australian Information Commissioner (OIAC). For further information or to make a complaint visit their website http://www.oaic.gov.au/individual

 

Revealing Secrets about you.

If someone attempts to reveal to others information that is very private about you this may also be against the law. In order for it to be against the law it must have been provided to someone in circumstance where it is obvious that the information was confidential and to be kept secret. The information itself must be something most people would actually consider “confidential” and keeping such information a secret it must be extremely important to you a in order for the information to fall under this law.

 

Speeding false or damaging information about you.

If a person reveals information about you to someone else or to a group of other and that information would cause others to think less of you and may be considered defamatory. It could fall under the defamation legislation.

 

Defamation

If a person spreads false rumours about you and they result in harming your reputation this is defamation. If one average person, other than the person being defamed, hears or sees the false information and thinks less of you this can be defamatory. For example accusing you of committing a crime, saying you have a disease, ridicules you or says you are dishonest or disloyal.

 

You can asked the person to remove the information posted and if on social media you can report the information and have it taken down. If this person is verbally defaming you, you could asked them to stop this and clear up what has been said.

Your last resort would be to sue as this can be expensive and complicated there are other avenues to attempt to resolve the situation before this. This has to be done with in 1 year of the information being published.

If it is going to be in the media you can bring forward an urgent Court order to stop the material from being published.

 

If you need more information or assistance in regards to any of the above matters or any other legal matter please contact Senia Lawyers on 5221 6788

 

Andrew Senia

Principal

Senia Lawyers